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[Cnet]Who wants perfectly accurate sound?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57499840-47/who-wants-perfectly-accurate-sound/

[quote]

 

The new Sennheiser HD 700 over-the-ear headphones (review to come) sound very different than the Grado RS-1 headphones and most of the other high-end Sennheisers I've tried. If accuracy was the prime directive, all Sennheisers would share a family sound; they do not. Heck, if accuracy was the top priority, all high-end headphones, from different manufacturers, would sound very similar. They're not even close.

......

Manufacturers all bow to the altar of accuracy, but they also know that truly accurate products don't sell. Maybe it's just that consumers want assurance that the products they buy are accurate. But all bets are off when they use the product and hear what accuracy actually sounds like. [/quote]

 

 

 

What is your thought about this article?

 

p/s: how to use bbcode in this forum...


Edited by sterob - 8/28/12 at 10:53am
post #2 of 38

Heya,

 

There is a nugget in the concept of high fidelity and yet all the big ones sound different completely

 

Unfortunately a lot of the audio culture is mostly that--culture. And that means all its subjectivity, preference and psychology.

 

If you want to really see something weird, just take a look at a lot of people's actual music that they're listening to and how it was produced and recorded and compare it to some of the summit level gear they're putting it through.

 

Audiophilia really does have more of a hardware/gear enthusiast aspect to the culture than strictly "enjoying audio." Some people listen to the headphone, the amp, the dac. Some people just listen to the music and see if it sounds like they prefer or expect and stop there.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 38
Guttenberg being Guttenberg - imho that's good, but I'm sure there are people who disagree with his reasoning or dislike him personally or what have you. Where I think it's good is especially the more or less full-frontal attack he's levying on the "as the artist intended" nonsense that we've all been fed for the last 5 years. The notion of a truly flat-and-accurate playback system is a fantasy, and even if it existed, I'm guessing you'd still have people who didn't like it (either because of the uncanny valley problem, or because they simply have different preferences); but advertising in recent years has gotten REALLY aggressive in pushing this "everything must be flat and perfect so it's accurate and replays the music as the artist intended it to be heard" line. And I think a lot of people have bought into it.
post #4 of 38

Good lord, I certainly don't want completely flat and neutral headphones. I got the ACS T15 IEMs which were rated as a very good and very neutral IEM with a slightly more fun bass emphasis than other neutral IEMs tend to have, found them utterly dry and boring to listen to. I won't go near anything ever again that is highly regarded for neutrality unless it can do it with lots of musicality in the presentation (but my experience with the ACS T15 makes me skeptical the two can co-exist at all). I don't really buy into this "as the artist intended" stuff where it relates to neutrality, I'm pretty sure the rock and metal artists I listen to didn't intend for it to sound stale...

 

Anyways, this is all personal preference really. I'm sure there are lots of fans of very neutral sounds, and more power to them. I'm young in this audio game, having really only started at the beginning of the year, but my experiences so far have certainly led me away from neutrality as something of overriding importance in a headphone (speaking only for myself and my own ear and enjoyment).


Edited by NZtechfreak - 8/28/12 at 4:54pm
post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

 

There is a nugget in the concept of high fidelity and yet all the big ones sound different completely

 

Unfortunately a lot of the audio culture is mostly that--culture. And that means all its subjectivity, preference and psychology.

 

If you want to really see something weird, just take a look at a lot of people's actual music that they're listening to and how it was produced and recorded and compare it to some of the summit level gear they're putting it through.

 

Audiophilia really does have more of a hardware/gear enthusiast aspect to the culture than strictly "enjoying audio." Some people listen to the headphone, the amp, the dac. Some people just listen to the music and see if it sounds like they prefer or expect and stop there.

 

Very best,

Very well put as always.

post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterob View Post

What is your thought about this article?
I want music to sound how I like it, I don't care so much about what the producers intended.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterob View Post

p/s: how to use bbcode in this forum...
to start a quote use
Edited by Draygonn - 8/28/12 at 5:04pm
post #7 of 38
You don't need the "=" sign - just have no spaces inside the brackets and have the text inbetween the open and close operators.
Code:
[quote] Hello World. [/quote]
The example here will produce:
Quote:
Hello World.

Just replace "hello world" with whatever you want to quote.

I'm also glad to see more than one or two people agreeing with preference over "accurate." beerchug.gif
Edited by obobskivich - 8/28/12 at 6:55pm
post #8 of 38

I want music to sound like it would live, otherwise known as accurate or real. Not sure why anyone wouldn't want music to sound this way, but most headphones don't and they still sell...so what do I know...

post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaughter View Post

I want music to sound like it would live, otherwise known as accurate or real. Not sure why anyone wouldn't want music to sound this way, but most headphones don't and they still sell...so what do I know...

 

Live amplified?

 

or

 

live unamplfied?

post #10 of 38

Then must be something wrong with the way we measure.

 

How do you measure food?  The less the salt it better? The spicier the better? what?


Edited by RedBull - 8/29/12 at 7:27am
post #11 of 38

You are always going to experience a hybrid-sound regardless of your intention i.e. source constraints (mastering, recording environment) + reproduction constraints (your gear, your ear, your room). As many have mentioned, why would anybody want a perfectly flat and neutral response? Such a response would likely be quite dull and most of us would say we wanted neutral, but not that neutral. As was mentioned by Malveaux, once your expectations have been met, you will perceive the sound as being right, and that is what we are all seeking. Of course, what we perceive as sounding right can and likley will change over the years so our pursuit of the right sound will continue.

 

People always talk about how live sound is the benchmark for natural sound reproduction, but I couldn't agree less. The sound that we experience in a live show is just as subject to colouration as sound reproduction at home. The instruments and how they are tuned and or amplified changes the sound in a live show, the venue itself, even the humidity in the air will make the sound potentially different. And how about the position of the listener? In some places in typical concert hall the sound is the most balanced while in another location it may be very muddy and distorted. I only mention this as it is a related concept. Cheers.

post #12 of 38

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth....

 

I honestly do not understand how accuracy/neutrality has become so stigmatized in this hobby as to be synonymous with "lifeless" and "boring". Seems to me that these folks need to find more exciting music. 

 

I admit that true neutrality has become a myth of sorts, and it seems to be a moving target given different mastering techniques/priorities and input/output chains. But as a listener, I don't get how striving to have a neutral playback chain (or as close as we can), to remove the playback as a variable of coloration, and to get as close as possible to the engineer's (+artist's) intent can be considered a detriment to the enjoyment of the music. There is nothing as visceral, as engaging, as involving, as utterly enjoyable to me as a well-mastered recording played back through a system that has little coloration. To me, that is having that transparency -- that, having-the-equipment-melt-away feeling -- at its very finest. You don't get jarred back to reality with colorations on top of the original recording

 

Sure, you can make a case that perhaps it's nice to have colored gear to mask a recording's deficiencies. I can see this being preferred if you listen to primarily poor recordings. For example, I listen to a lot of poorly-mastered, compressed modern indie, so I typically gravitate toward the LCD-2 in this case because the shelved treble, while being a less-than-ideal coloration, meshes better with these particular recordings (being less-than-ideal themselves). After all, we can't listen to pristine masters all of the time -- as our music tastes dictate the recordings we listen to, not the engineer. 

 

But even having said that, I don't understand how preferring specific colorations in specific instances has evolved into neutrality=boring which is utterly ridiculous to me. 

post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Questhate View Post

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth....

I honestly do not understand how accuracy/neutrality has become so stigmatized in this hobby as to be synonymous with "lifeless" and "boring". Seems to me that these folks need to find more exciting music. 

I admit that true neutrality has become a myth of sorts, and it seems to be a moving target given different mastering techniques/priorities and input/output chains. But as a listener, I don't get how striving to have a neutral playback chain (or as close as we can), to remove the playback as a variable of coloration, and to get as close as possible to the engineer's (+artist's) intent can be considered a detriment to the enjoyment of the music. There is nothing as visceral, as engaging, as involving, as utterly enjoyable to me as a well-mastered recording played back through a system that has little coloration. To me, that is having that transparency -- that, having-the-equipment-melt-away feeling -- at its very finest. You don't get jarred back to reality with colorations on top of the original recording

Sure, you can make a case that perhaps it's nice to have colored gear to mask a recording's deficiencies. I can see this being preferred if you listen to primarily poor recordings. For example, I listen to a lot of poorly-mastered, compressed modern indie, so I typically gravitate toward the LCD-2 in this case because the shelved treble, while being a less-than-ideal coloration, meshes better with these particular recordings (being less-than-ideal themselves). After all, we can't listen to pristine masters all of the time -- as our music tastes dictate the recordings we listen to, not the engineer. 

But even having said that, I don't understand how preferring specific colorations in specific instances has evolved into neutrality=boring which is utterly ridiculous to me. 

I agree with this.
It seems like just because some people like brighter treble or stronger bass that something in the middle is just dull...
post #14 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaughter View Post

I want music to sound like it would live, otherwise known as accurate or real. Not sure why anyone wouldn't want music to sound this way, but most headphones don't and they still sell...so what do I know...

 

Perhaps "neutral" is the word.

 

Personally, I don't understand how people can drink coffee. It's all a matter of taste (if you'll excuse the pun.)

post #15 of 38

I don't think the middle-ground sounds boring, in fact I tend to strive to find the middle-ground. My main point about neutrality is that it really can't exist in any meaningful way unless all factors that colour the sound are accounted for, which is almost impossible. That said, I do know what people mean when they say they strive for as close to neutral in their chain as possible and this in my mind does not have to mean the results will be dull sound, it might be dull, but it might also be lively. There are just so many factors at play here you could pull your hair out trying to get everything just right. In my mind there is no right or wrong approach, there is your approach and what everybody else is doing. Enjoy the music.

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